Saturday, 29 March 2014

Tomato Psyllid

This year we had a bumper tomato crop, I was able to put over 24kg into the freezer to be turned into puree later.  But near the end of the season, we noticed what looked like salt on some leaves, then the leaves began to turn brown and shrivel up.  I blamed it on the dry weather - no rain for a month.  Then one day someone suggested it might be Tomato psyllid.  I looked it up, then inspected the plants:
Completely infested.
So the curly new growth at the start of the season may have been caused by this bug too, and I'm sure they are the reason why my eggplants never thrived.  Psyllids attack the solanum family, so eggplant, capsicum and potato plants are also affected, although the tomatoes and potatoes catch it worst.  I haven't dug any of our potatoes up yet but I'm not too optimistic as the plants have been looking crook for a while.  Many of my later tomatoes were a bit tasteless too - apparently the psyllid sucks the sugar out of the plant, making the fruit a bit of a waste of time.

 Eggplant crop 2014
So I picked all my capsicums, and they've been ripening up nicely in the garage
 They had these wee grey flies all over the leaves, which might be the adult psyllid.
 The good news is that this pest doesn't live in the South Island, which is where we'll be living by next year.



Thursday, 13 March 2014

Zoo trip

The main reason for going to Wellington was for a sleepover at Wellington Zoo.  My cellphone ate most of the photos I took (well, it tricked me into deleting them :( ) but we still have a few.
We arrived at 7pm and went round the Zoo with one of the keepers.  She got the kids to make "enrichment" for the sun bears - a toilet roll filled with raisins and porridge, with the ends tucked in.  The next morning we threw them over the fence so the bears could eat them.

video
The kids were pretty excited to be able to throw the roll they had filled themselves and see the bears break it open and lick out the porridge!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

breaking camp

Eventually we had to pack up our gear and head off to Wellington.  That was the only day it rained, but although we had to pack up wet tents, it didn't really rain during the packing.  When we got home we spread them in the garage to dry out, they weren't too soggy.
Eva helped, of course

Playing with the camera

Our camera has a panorama function


The boys discovered that if you move at exactly the right speed in relation to the camera you can clone yourself




Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Creepy Crawlies

We didn't see as many birds as we expected while we were camping.  We see more birds in our backyard at home than we did at Mt Holdsworth, but that may be because they are used to humans.  Nine people stomping through the bush might be a bit scary for the local wildlife.

We were also surprised that nothing seemed to be eating the cicadas up there.  There were thousands of them and they were deafening.  Sometimes they even sang right through the night.

These were the noisy ones.  We camped beside a whole lot of gum trees, which they seem to love.
The boys had a lot of fun catching them.


 This is a different type
 
This looks like a giraffe weevil, he was huge

Renee found a stick insect - quite active.  Usually they play dead if you catch them but this one wouldn't stop moving
I found this weevil down the back of my T-shirt.  He was very prickly
Daniel found a dead huhu beetle
a couple of different-looking click beetles

and some grasshoppers




 This might be related to a tiger beetle


Renee found this beautiful moth which she has been trying to identify.  So far we've had no luck, any suggestions welcome

Daniel found this black beetle which went a bit mad if we put it on its back

video















Sunday, 2 March 2014

Weta

When we were in Wellington we went to the Weta Cave at Weta Workshop.

We went on their tour (no photos allowed) and had a look around their shop.

 There was a lot of interesting stuff to look at (and/or buy)
All of it was expensive





Some large trolls out the front


  and other large models around the place


by Bryony

bits and pieces

 beautiful and delicious chocolates  from Schoc Chocolates
 Minions!
 mum's street
 Paint-by-number trees (what kind?)
 a fantastic shadow
what a strange photo...
By Bryony

Picnics and Parks

While we were in Masterton we had several picnics


Henley Lake Park had some very inquisitive ducks, geese, and other water-fowl.  (And the water was foul :) )











At Queen Elizabeth Park there were deer and an excellent playground.  The girls spent a lot of time looking for hazelnuts